Cholesterol lowering functional foods promote health through diet

Functional foods are special kind of foods that on top of their normal nutritional value provide a specific, scientifically proven health benefit, often due to an active ingredient they contain. Functional food may contain its active ingredient naturally, but typically the ingredient is added or fortified. For example, a regular low-fat yogurt is a good source of protein and calcium (normal food), but it only becomes a functional food once special, cholesterol-lowering plant stanol ester is added to it.

The philosophy of consuming functional foods is that by making small alterations to the normal diet, like replacing the aforementioned regular yogurt with cholesterol-lowering Benecol® yogurt drink, you can make a change towards better health every day. Over time this helps to reduce the risk of diseases and can even reduce the need of medical treatment.

Benecol - the world's first cholesterol-lowering functional food

Cholesterol-lowering effect of plant stanols has been known since the early 1950s, but only a Finnish innovation in the late 1980's made it possible to incorporate plant stanols in food in such a way that they will lower cholesterol efficiently. Dr. Ingmar Wester, at the time a chemist in Raisio Group, invented how to create Plant stanol ester, a fat-soluble ingredient, that can be included in the foodstuffs in high concentrations without compromising the taste or the effectiveness.

The first Benecol® product, Plant stanol ester containing margarine, was launched in Finland in 1995. Today, Benecol products with this patented ingredient are sold on almost 30 countries all over the world. The product range varies from yoghurt drinks and spreads to bread and feta cheese depending on the country.